A Few Words About Elementary...

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by truespock, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. lennier1

    lennier1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's an interesting show, but I might have liked t better if it didn't use the Sherlock Holmes name and just stood on its own feet.
    On it's own it's a fun show, but it's not even close to what the BBC's "Sherlock" has to offer.
     
  2. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Holmes was a period detective, putting him into the 21st century is impure by definition. Liking BBC's Sherlock is one thing, but pretending it's serious, purist Sherlock Holmes is absurd. Courtously moving past the question of why anyone would prefer a sociopath to a fully human Holmes, the remaining question is why Elementary is positively offensive?

    The answer has become drearily obvious: Girl cooties.:rolleyes:
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But then it would just be another procedural. Making it Holmes and Watson, directly incorporating the characteristic elements of that franchise (for want of a better term) such as the relationship between the two leads, the "consulting detective" job, Holmes's idiosyncrasies like "attic theory" and the violin, and so forth is what makes it distinctive.

    I don't remember anyone saying they would've liked Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns better if it hadn't used the Batman name and just featured an original crimefighter in a dark, dystopian future. Yes, it was very different from the Batman comics that preceded it, but the whole point of the work was to comment on and deconstruct those comics by presenting their familiar elements in a radically different manner and context. So taking out the familiar elements would've rendered the whole work pointless. Same with, ohh, Picasso. He rendered his subjects in a way very unlike what human beings actually look like, but that doesn't mean he should've just done abstract shapes unconnected to anything human. The meaning of his art was in the way he took the familiar, the human form, and transformed it in order to reveal it in an entirely new way.

    Of course I'm not saying Elementary is on a par with Picasso's work, or that it's as radical a deconstruction as TDKR was (though Sherlock may fill that bill). I'm just saying that a lot of art and fiction is about transforming the familiar, and loses its meaning if you take away the familiar aspects.
     
  4. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks There's a- a peck here with an acorn pointed at me Premium Member

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    I really like this version of Sherlock. It's an interesting rift on the character, however I think it would work better if this Sherlock was a descendant of the original Sherlock. Mental disorders and addiction usually run in family histories. As for Lucy Liu, I'm really digging the who more vulnerable, softer side she is bring to the character.
     
  5. Andrew_Kearley

    Andrew_Kearley Captain Captain

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    It was contemporary when it was written. So setting it contemporary now seems truer to the spirit of Doyle than wallowing in a Victorian nostalgia-fest.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Interesting thought, but I think it might take something away from the character if he were presented as being in the shadow of a famous namesake ancestor, rather than being a one-of-a-kind individual who has to prove himself on his own terms. Also, there'd be the coincidence of this Sherlock Holmes II happening to end up with a Dr. Watson.


    Absolutely right. At the time Doyle created him, Holmes was a cutting-edge figure, beyond the contemporary state of the art for criminal investigation and forensic science. He was a pioneer in his field, and not only in fiction. He represented the future, not the past. Indeed, one could argue that the Holmes stories were borderline science fiction for their period, since they were about a character using cutting-edge, still-unproven scientific techniques to solve problems; it's just that in this case the sciences were criminology and forensics. (Perhaps this is why there have been so many science fiction pastiches of Holmes over the decades.)

    Also, as I think I already mentioned, most of the Basil Rathbone films updated Holmes to the then-present day and even had him fighting Nazis in films produced during WWII.
     
  7. Top41

    Top41 Vice Admiral Moderator

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    You're entitled to your opinion, but cut the crap like the above. Condescension doesn't help make your point, or strengthen it.

    ***

    On topic, I've only seen the pilot for the show, but I thought it was entertaining. Definitely a CBS procedural, but with a fun rapport between the two leads. I thought making Watson a woman was an interesting choice, but I'm glad they didn't do it so they could have the two leads fall into bed together in episode two.
     
  8. Star_Trucker

    Star_Trucker Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I haven't seen it, beyond the ads for it. I tend to catch a couple shows and if I like them, then I keep watching them. If I don't like them, then I move onto something else.

    In my opinion, critiquing a character in a movie/TV series simply for their real life name is not a valid reason. If it were, then there are quite a few actors, both in the past and current, that that argument could be applied to, yet it would be just as asinine critique. True, most actors nowadays do not change their names, unlike many in the past where either they changed them on their own or, as was the case in the majority, the studio changed the persons names so they would sound more 'actor-ish' I guess.

    For me, I try to give a show a couple of episodes before I say 'yea' or 'nay' to it. But that is only if it piques my interest in the first place. And so far, 'Elementary' hasn't yet.
     
  9. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks There's a- a peck here with an acorn pointed at me Premium Member

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    I can't disagree with you, would really have to ramp up the crazy happenstance.
     
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    They could always make it not a coincidence. Introduce both characters as descendants of the originals, thrown together for a reason, maybe an overall mystery left over by their namesakes.
     
  11. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Both of you are absolutely correct in that the original Holmes was very much about pioneering applicaton of science (or more generally, logical thinking) to criminal investigation. This is particularly true given the very primitive standards of contemporary police. They lacked even the ideals of contemporary police, and weren't much more professional than the detectives seen in Dickens and Wilkie Collins. Which is to say they were not much use, at best, or possibly even menacing in their erratic approach. Jack the Ripper was not just a horror but a scandal in policing.

    This aspect of Holmes was specific to early days in the professionalization of criminal investigation. It is not compatible with contemporary reality. It could be updated to turn Holmes into an alternate to a corrupt police force but then the detective wouldn't be Holmes but hard-boiled/noir. The BBC Holmes certainly makes no attempt to be cutting edge science in forensics (that's CSI.:)) And Elementary's awkward attempt to show Holmes doing uncontrolled experiments on corpses was just embarrassing.:rolleyes:

    And of course, the original Holmes was also about disguises and the Baker Street Irregulars. There's no effort to update them for the good reason that don't translate. Sorry, no, the contemporaneity of the original Holmes character cannot be captured by any contemporary version without portraying the police in a way that simply would not be acceptable. (Especially not on cable.)

    By the time of these films, Holmes' last canonical appearance in the oeuvre was a mere thirty years or so in fictional chronology, and even less by publication. Holmes was hardly a period character by then. Only Sue Grafton has decided to turn her series detective into a period character, while other long-running series like Parker's Spenser just jogged along agelessly, more or less. Like Rathbone's Holmes.

    Also, why would those films be regarded as an argument for "updating" Holmes?

    I'm not quite sure what the argument is about here. I'm not a purist, so it's not Basil Rathbone's time period but the painfully stupid Nigel Bruce Watson I can't stand. The issue here is what grounds there are for somehow dubbing BBC Holmes pure but not CBS Holmes? The idea one is more purist than the other is just crazy.
     
  12. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks There's a- a peck here with an acorn pointed at me Premium Member

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    Holmes talks about his father a lot. Maybe the dad did an extensive search to find a descendant. Both could be oblivious to their families past interaction. Not likely, just fun to suppose.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, there couldn't have been an earlier Sherlock Holmes in either the Sherlock or Elementary universe, because Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous names in the world, so people in either series would be constantly doing double-takes or making fun of Holmes the moment he gave his name -- not to mention when they heard his friend was named Watson.

    And I don't find it credible that the original Holmes could've been relatively obscure or forgotten, because a fundamental conceit of the original tales was that they were written by Watson himself as chronicles of their actual adventures, albeit with some dramatic license employed and names changed or redacted. The stories published in The Strand were often referenced within later stories. So Holmes was just as much a famous literary figure within his universe as he was in reality. Not to mention how much of a pioneer he was, how much his methods influenced police procedures worldwide. In real life, Doyle himself did a lot to teach and propagate modern forensic methods, with the Holmes stories being one of the ways he did that; in the Holmes universe, Holmes's fame would be sort of a combination of Holmes's and Doyle's fame in the real world. So his name might be even more highly regarded today.
     
  14. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think you've read me wrong. I was attempting to be melodramatic about a "twist" for marketing purposes that really wasn't a twist at all... in addition to the other two retreads I mentioned. The sigh was for all of it.

    The marketing department for the show made it about Watson being a woman, not I. That shouldn't be a factor at all like you've said. So since I don't find the fact that Watson is a woman to be a big deal, especially after Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, and I actually went on to complement both Liu and Miller on their acting choices and abilities...

    I'm wondering why you quoted me in such a way that to anyone else who reads that it seems like I was hating on a show I was in fact trying to praise.

    I also never mentioned tattoos anywhere so...

    *confused*
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^You're not the only person in this thread. When I post in a public thread, I'm usually directing it at the entire readership, and the subject of tattoos was raised earlier in the thread.

    And how was I supposed to know you were being sarcastic? I'm not psychic. All I know is what the words on the screen say.
     
  16. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just felt misrepresented. It's hard to know sometimes when you're being just being you.